Flying start delights Dengate
Ashford Rugby Club made an encouraging start to life in Shepherd Neame Kent 1 with a convincing win away to Royal Bank of Scotland on Saturday.
Steve Tanner led the way in south east London, scoring a try, six conversions and a penalty against an RBS team who had won promotion from Kent 2 last season.
Ashford coach Chris Dengate described some of his team’s handling as exceptional but was just as happy to have prevented the home side from scoring.
He said: “They’re not a bad side and they’ll beat teams RBS ASHFORD but we were too much for them.
“Some of the tries we scored were top drawer, it was not a case of just ploughing over.
“We’ve worked hard in preseason, we’ve focused heavily on our defence and on a day when there were a fair amount of points scored in our division we were the only team to record a nil which was pleasing.”
Ashford, relegated from London 2 South East last season, certainly looked well prepared and started with an energy which their hosts could not match.
It was Tanner who gave Ashford the lead with a penalty after six minutes and although they were guilty of forcing it too much early on with several handling errors, they did extend their lead on 14 minutes when the returning Peter Walsh scored an easy try after some strong work by the pack.
Three further tries followed before half-time from Oli Finn, Tanner and Farai Myezwa giving the visitors a 29-point cushion.
At this stage, the rain came which effected Ashford’s ability to move the ball at pace but the visiting pack continued to make huge holes and a wellfunctioning lineout allowed the back line to work off great set piece ball.
Andy Ticehurst and Callum Stuckey linked well with the backs and this continuity allowed Ashford to play some fluid rugby.
Tom Kane scored an excellent team try, before Jake Cotton picked the ball up one handed to create a second try for Walsh.
Walsh’s centre partner Danny Bushell then got in on the act bulldozing over the line, with all converted by Tanner.
Changes were then made and all three replacements had a positive impact with Craig Coggle dominant in the scrum, Charlie Colman looking composed at 10 and Dan Brown coming on at No.8.
Some great hands led to two Brown breaks and both teams he was able to send Jack Weaver over to complete the scoring.
Dengate expects a closer contest when Ashford host Cranbrook on Saturday (3pm) but he says the players are ready for anything that is thrown at them.
He added: “There’s a hunger and desire among the players at the moment and as a coach that’s great to see.
“We’ve got a lovely mix in the squad and the players are hungry to go on and create their own legacy.”
Beccehamian 31 Gillingham Anchorians 21, Cranbrook 24 Old Gravesendians 27, HSBC 15 King’s College Hospital 28, New Ash Green 20 Southwark Lancers 5, Royal Bank of Scotland 0 Ashford 60, Sittingbourne 31 Vigo 33.
Ashford v Cranbrook, Gillingham Anchorians v Sittingbourne, HSBC v Royal Bank of Scotland, King’s College Hospital v Southwark Lancers, Old Gravesendians v Beccehamian, Vigo v New Ash Green.